Egypt in Contact With Paris Attack Victim’s Family to Secure Compensation From France

Egypt in Contact With Paris Attack Victim’s Family to Secure Compensation From France

A general view of the scene that shows rescue services personnel working near the covered bodies outside a restaurant following a shooting incident in Paris, France, November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
A general view of the scene that shows rescue services personnel working near the covered bodies outside a restaurant following a shooting incident in Paris, France, November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

By Hend Kortam, Aswat Masriya

The Egyptian foreign ministry has established contact with the family of the Egyptian killed in the coordinated attacks that struck Paris on Nov. 13 to secure compensation from the French government, the ministry spokesman said Monday.

Egyptian national Salah Emad al-Gebaly was among the victims killed in at least six coordinated attacks that took place in the French capital, claiming the lives of 130 people.

He is believed to be among the dozens who died in the Bataclan Theatre, where victims were either shot or bombed to death when three suicide attackers blew themselves up following a brief hostage situation.
Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid told state news agency MENA that the ministry is talking to his family to collect the required documents to send them to French authorities.

As part of its counter-terrorism strategy, France has a specific victim compensation scheme that was set up in 1986.

The French foreign ministry website says the fund “provides compensation to all victims, whatever their nationality, of terrorist acts perpetrated in France and to all French victims of terrorist acts perpetrated outside France.”

But a Reuters report dated Nov. 19 says the payout for the Paris attacks are likely to put a “strain” on the fund. Typically each victim has around 10 family members who are eligible for compensation, including “spouses, children, parents, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren,” a board member of the fund told Reuters. The number of people eligible for compensation is around 2,000.

According to the report, the families of someone killed, for example, can expect to receive around 20,000 to 30,000 euros ($21,490-$32,235).

Abu Zeid said French authorities have provided the Egyptian consulate in Paris with information on the compensation fund and requested information on Gebaly’s first degree relatives to issue the compensation.

The spokesman said circulating claims that French authorities cited “natural causes” for Gebaly’s death are “inaccurate”. He added that the cause of death in Gebaly’s death certificate is the same as the cause for all of the other victims, which says: “known to the French authorities.”

Another Egyptian was injured in the Paris attacks, while lining up outside a stadium where the French president was attending a friendly game between France and Germany.

Although the attacks in Paris are the second terrorist attacks in the capital this year, the first targeting satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo’s office in January, they are the worst the country has seen since World War II.

The fatal attacks were immediately described by the French media as a “carnage” and have prompted shows of solidarity across the world. Even Egypt’s Great Pyramid was illuminated with the colours of the French flag, as well as the Russian and Lebanese ones, after they too lost dozens in recent terrorist acts.

But the Paris attacks have also prompted swift measures by the French government. In response, France has adopted a state of emergency, which was extended for three months after a vote in the French Senate and has also launched new airstrikes on Raqqa in Syria, a stronghold for Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria, known as ISIS.

In a speech last week before a rare joint meeting of both French houses of parliament, President Francois Hollande said “we will continue these strikes in the weeks to come. “

ISIS claimed responsibility for the Paris attack a day later in a statement published in both Arabic and French, and made available in an audio recording, where the group said eight of its members had carried out the operation.

The group said in the statement circulated on social media and shared on an unofficial website for the group that it targeted the “capital of immorality and vice” and the “bearer of the banner of the cross in Europe.”

This marks the third attack claimed by ISIS affiliates in two weeks in different regions. A day before the attack in France, ISIS affiliates claimed a double suicide bombing in southern Beirut, killing dozens.

On October 31, ISIS affiliates in Egypt’s North Sinai gloated at downing a Russian airliner in the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 passengers and crew.

Hollande told the joint meeting of the French parliament, “today, we need more airstrikes, which we will carry out, and more support for those who are fighting Daesh [ISIS], which we, France, will provide” but many have questioned the effectiveness of more strikes.

France is part of the U.S.-led coalition which has been striking ISIS since August 2014. The cost of the operation, dubbed by the U.S Department of Defence, Operation Inherent Resolve, has climbed to $5 billion, as of October.

The Paris attacks were followed by a hunt for the suspects, not only in Paris but also in neighbouring Belgium which was under lockdown last night.

Seven of the suspected attackers are dead, having blown themselves up on the scene of the crime but police are looking for Salah Abdeslam in Brussels. His brother Ibrahim blew himself at some point in the Paris attacks.

The man believed to be the mastermind behind the attacks,  Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was killed in a police raid in a north Paris flat on Nov. 18, five days after the attacks.

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Aswat Masriya is a Thomson Reuters Foundation-sponsored website that covers Egypt's transition to democracy.

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